Dates: August 31 to September 12, 2015
Cost: $5,150 per person based on double occupancy
Join us as we take you on a safari into Chobe National Park as well as a tour of Cape Town and the Western Cape Region. On this safari, we will have 6 days/5 nights at Chobe National Park and 5 days/5 nights in the Cape Town area and South African wine country. While some of our trips are “just about photography”, this trip will be a pleasant mix. Yes, we will use all of our skills and technique to get you into position to get an amazing photograph, but on this trip we will also focus on the non-photographers and make sure we absorb all of the cultural and dining pleasures these locations have to offer.
The Wildlife Safari Portion of Our Trip
We begin this safari with a flight from Johannesburg to Kasane, Botswana, gateway to Chobe National Park. The Chobe region of Botswana is one of the most picturesque and game filled parks on the African continent. Chobe is located on the northern border of Botswana, which is the Chobe River. Our trips will be during the prime, dry season, when game density is high as the river becomes the key source of drink from game. We will be viewing from large 4×4 vehicles as we travel the river banks, but we’ll also have an option of photographing from specially equipped boats, designed for accessing the shallow areas, allowing a close view of the wildlife. In addition to the wildlife, we will also take a day trip to nearby Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world.
For the Chobe portion of our trip, our base and access to the park is via the eastern gate at Kasane. Kasane is a small town with interesting shopping areas, access to ATM machines, pharmacy, grocery, etc. in case you left something at home. We’ll be staying at the Cresta Mowana which has hosted dignitaries from Bill Clinton to the President of Botswana, Ian Khama. This lodge has a true feeling of Africa and each room has a private balcony viewing the river. The dining and entertainment each evening will also be unforgettable.
There is something quite different about viewing wildlife from the water. One gets very close to the animals and birds, and it’s a far gentler, more peaceful experience than the traditional 4X4 game drives. We will have the best of both worlds. We will have daily access to a photo boat and also daily access to a roomy 4×4 vehicle for land based photography. We’ll be taking advantage of the dry conditions when the water in the area is pretty much restricted to the river. This makes river based photography very productive. We will let the sun, weather and wants of our fellow photographers dictate whether we shoot from land or water each morning and afternoon.
We limit the size of the group to just 8 travelers so that we can spend quality time together and really work of getting beautiful images. By all means bring your partner along at a reduced rate to enjoy the safari with you.
The program is very relaxed and flexible and while the idea is to bring back some amazing photographs of the wildlife we will also schedule some time to do a little relaxing if you choose. Early mornings and late afternoons will be spent in a mix of opportunities on the water shooting pictures of the animals and surrounds. During the time after breakfast we will have a little free time where we can informally share are photos. Each evening we will collect 3 or 4 images fo the day from each participant and conduct a fun and informal photo workshop, discussing what worked well and how to get even better shots the next day!
Besides the fantastic game viewing of Chobe, this trip has some Unique highlights which include:
- Access to special camera equipment – A real bonus on this trip will be access to photo equipment. Not everyone has taken the financial leap of faith to buy a dSLR camera. Many that have the camera, don’t have the telephoto zoom that would benefit one on safari. On this unique safari, every participant will have access to a state of the art camera and zoom lens free of charge while they are with us. The event is in conjunction with Pangolin Photo Safaris. The Pangolin team will make available Nikon D7000 bodies with Sigma 150-500mm & 120-400mm lenses. In addition, we’ll coach you on the use of the equipment to make sure you get the shots you want.
Chobe is about viewing from the water and we’ll have special access to custom viewing boats. These ‘photo boats’ are 9 meters long by 3 meters wide with a shallow draft. This allows a very stable platform for viewing and for photography. Each of the eight seats are equipped with a padded swivel chair attached to a “Wemberley style” camera mount. The seat and mount rotate a full 360 degrees. – We believe that this is the perfect balance between functionality, usability, space and comfort. The mounting design is so simple and effective that guests will master its movement in no time at all. Clients travelling with their own lenses simply attach one of our base plates to their lens collar and they are ready to go. The seats are arranged down the center of the boat allowing maximum storage space on either side for extra lenses and gear but more importantly a configuration like this limits any potential obstruction by the adjacent photographer.
Typical daily schedule in Chobe area
During our time in Kasane, we have a few very special days planned. These include a day trip to the magnificent Victoria Falls, which is only 60 miles to the east and also an evening at a private waterhole in our Elephant Bunker followed by a special boma dinner under the stars at Elephant Valley. The specific day for each of these events may vary depending on the desires of participants, but are usually mid-week highlights. Otherwise, the basic schedule each day is similar:
- Upon waking each morning, Coffee, hot tea and rusks will be available. We will head out at sunrise each day for morning game drive. The game drive may be via boat or via 4×4. Based on local sightings and our guide, we’ll choose which mode of transportation each day to optimize viewing opportunities. After a few hours of shooting, we will stop at a safe location for a beverage and snacks and then continue on the game drive. Around 10:30, the light becomes too flat for good photography so we return from the lodge.
- From 11 to 3 each day, we will have a full breakfast, but you will have ample free to relax and enjoy the lodge, talk with fellow travelers, view game from the deck overlooking the river, relax with a book, or take a short nap.
- Typically the afternoon and evening game drive begins around 3 p.m. The schedule is similar to the morning game drive in that we will photograph for a few hours and then, as sunset approaches, we will find a photograph sunset and have ‘sundowner’ drinks and snacks. The excursion photo leader and guide will work in cooperation to find a location that has a spectacular view of the setting African sun and also close by game or landscape features to allow beautiful silhouetted compositions. Following sunset, we will head back to the lodge.
- Each evening, in conjunction with the evening dinner, we will have live entertainment and, of course, a lot of table discussions about the days sightings. Dinner is typically from around 7 to 9. While some will follow this with a drink at the bar overlooking the river, others will want to get off to bed as each day begins early.
- All great things must come to an end and on our departure day we have time for one last game drive. The morning will provide a choice of last game drive or the option of a proper breakfast adjacent to the Chobe riverfront. Near mid-day, you will be conveyed to the airport in Kasane where we will fly back to Johannesburg for our connecting flight and then onward to our Cape Town.
Our Cape Town and Western Cape Adventure
We will have 5 nights and 5 days staying in Cape Town. Technically, we will be there for 6 days; however, our arrival will be near supper time so let’s not count that one. There are many, many things to do in Cape Town. We have a plan, but we also are on a custom trip with a fantastic guide and large private viewing van, so we will keep our mind open and our ears to the ground to learn of any spectacular happenings in the area worthy of shifting our schedule. Currently the plan is to do all of the following:
- A trip to the top of Table Mountain
- A day trip to Cape Point, visiting Muizenburg Beach, Fishhoek, the penguin colony at Boulders and other sites on the way out. Our return will be via the amazing Chapman’s Peak with it’s breathtaking vistas.
- A visit to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
- A day trip to Hermanus – the town of Hermanus is famed for whale watching and we will do that, but we need to also mention the spectacular drive along the Western Cape coastal highway to our destination. Along the drive we will stop to view amazing sandy beaches, powerful boulder covered beaches and beautiful hillsides of wildflowers which should be peaking during the timeframe.
- A tour and tastings of South Africa’s wine country
- Free shopping time at Victoria & Alfred Cape Town Waterfront
Cost of the Event
The cost for this all-inclusive trip is U.S. $5,150 per person (but not inclusive of airfare to Johannesburg and international departure from Cape Town). All pricing is based on double occupancy. There is a single supplement charge of $1,150 if you are traveling alone and wish to have a room of your own.
– Aug. 31 – Upon your arrive in Johannesburg we will greet you at the Outlook lodge where we will stay one night to get time adjusted then
– September 1-6 (5 nights/6 days): Chobe, including day trip to Victoria Falls
– September 6-11 (5 nights/6 days): Cape Town and Western Cape, including private guide/driver
– September 11: depart Cape Town for your home destination arriving in the U.S. on September 12
What Is Included:
- Accommodation for 1 nights on a share basis in Johannesburg as specified in the itinerary
- Flight from Johannesburg (JNB) to Kasane (BBK)
- Transfers to Mowana Lodge
- Lodging at Cresta Mowana Lodge
- All meals as stipulated in the itinerary
- Chobe National Park entrance fees
- Extensive game drives in safari vehicles including photo boat and a 4×4 unimog photo vehicle.
- Professional photographer advice, guidance and tutoring. Photo tour attendee to Pro Photographer ratio of 8:1
- Professional Field Guide
- Two game drives per day (total of 8 game drives)
- Day trip and tour of Victoria Falls including Victoria Falls Park fees
- Airfare from Kasane (BBK) to Cape Town (CPT)
- Transfers to/from Airport to Cape Town Hotel
- 5 nights lodging at Cape Milner Hotel
- Daily access to guide/driver and vehicle for the group
- International airfare and/or other transportation between your home and South Africa
- Travel Insurance
- Any Laundry Services
- Alcoholic Drinks
- Additional activities
- Personal purchases (including souvenirs, spirit liquors, telephone calls, etc.)
- Gratuities/tips for guides
Fitness Level: Minimal physical activity is required for this photo tour. All game photography will be from a vehicle.
Space Available: This trip is limited to 8 travelers. Currently 6 spaces remain open for this trip.
When Should I Book?
This event is limited to only 8 people (based on double occupancy) plus the group travel leader. With this limited space, we recommend booking early. If you enjoy truly learning about the region and culture of the local people where you are doing your workshop, then this trip is for you. If you are excited about the idea of this trip, then now is the time to register. We want you to feel comfortable with the trip details so if you have any questions regarding the trip before or after registering, send us an e-mail with your concerns to buddy@MagnumExcursions.com .